Why has confidence become so elusive? Or has it always been? I do not mean this to say that I cannot find any. In fact, I can lend some out on most days. But I wonder why people don’t have conviction in themselves anymore. Again, it could have always been this way, and I am young and naive in thinking it is a modern phenomena.
The confidence in our physical selves is something I do believe to be a modern day creation. The media over the past century has not been easy in transforming the concept of beauty in our minds. Long gone are the days where women with curves were seen as attractive and acceptable. Granted, there aren’t many people attracted to women out their who would say they have a problem with breasts–regardless of size, big or small. But the societal mindset changed to viewing skin and bones as being attractive. I am not saying that women who are naturally thin are unattractive, quite the opposite. I am questioning when the mind set became to view only one body type as physically attractive. Why cannot confidence be what is attractive, not a size on a random scale?
Even a step beyond the superficial, I find that people seem timid in expressing their own thoughts. Not on social media, that is to be sure. But in person, face to face. Perhaps social media outlets created a dependency in hiding behind a screen for communication. People fill my news feed on Twitter and Facebook, describing rather private details about their lives, but in person, cannot hold a conversation about, well, anything. Frankly, I don’t spend time on the internet in the hopes of hearing that you made pasta for dinner. Congrats, but I don’t care. However, when I see you, and ask how your day has been, how classes are going for you, how the relationship with whatever-fling-of-the-month is progressing, I legitimately would like a response. Perhaps, if we’re feeling crazy, a dialogue could even ensue. But this doesn’t happen as much as I would like.
What is worse is sitting in class, hearing a professor ask a question, and seeing only one person raise their hand. One person. And a timid hand barely skims the air, not one standing upright waiting to be heard. Your thoughts are important, and, chance are, completely valid. If you have an answer bubbling in your head, the class could go one of two ways if you raise your hand in response: the professor deems your answer correct and you seem brilliant for knowing anything when the rest of the class is absent or asleep, or the professor gently brushes away your response as incorrect, but pulls the correct answer out of you anyway, in which case you are still the correct, shinning beacon of hope. In other words, the worst that can happen is your wrong, and not even the slightest bit embarrassed because, like I said, everyone in your class is asleep. If the same thing happens in a board meeting, or in front of your boss, well, that shouldn’t be happening because if you were genius enough to get a job in the first place, you can answer the question.
But back to the problem. Having confidence in your own thoughts is necessary. Can you imagine what a joke we would all be if Sir Isaac Newton didn’t have enough conviction in his thoughts to write them down or share them? We would still be trying to grasp the concept of gravity, aka why I trip and fall. What if Shakespeare had been too afraid to share his works? We would never know of Juliet and her Romeo. And really, do we even want to approach the topic of computers never being invented? This world needs more people to share their thoughts and ideas, not keep them bottled up.
Having confidence in yourself–and by extension, all that you create–is what keeps society progressing, but also what makes life worth living. To be able to create something, anything, and be proud of it is rewarding. To be proud of your work, regardless of the thoughts of others, establishes a growing sense of self-confidence that builds on itself continually. In essence, you must trust your self, the rest will fall into place. That’s what confidence is, trusting yourself, all of yourself.
Now you are wondering, Claire, how do I gain this miraculous confidence? I’ll tell you, but you must promise to share this secret with everyone you think needs it. When you get up in the morning, before you do anything to your appearance, look in a mirror, any mirror, and say this to yourself, out loud (or in your head to start), “I am looking good,” or “hey good looking, come here often?” or “damn, my hair looks wildly sexy pointing in all sorts of crazy directions.” Pay yourself compliments, multiple compliments, or my personal favorite, wink at yourself. The compliments can range from physical appearance to mental status. For instance, “you are one brilliant genius.” And then, amp up the compliments to be utterly outrageous, but perfectly spot on. Increase the frequency too, to every time you see your reflection, until it becomes natural to look at yourself and think positively.
Admittedly, this isn’t my idea. It was given to me by middle school principle of all people. He had this assembly at the beginning of sixth grade, gave us the low down on the school. But then he made us promise to do that, look in the mirror every morning and pay ourselves a compliment. I am not sure how many people did it, but I did, thinking it sounded a bit funny, and why not? Then I realized the power in paying yourself a compliment, and doing so repeatedly. Of course, it felt bizarre at first, but now I can’t help it. Granted, I don’t do it aloud any more, but I still wink, all the damn time. And the best part is, it’s a gift to yourself that keeps on giving. Being proud in who you are and all that stems from that can only grow.
So now, you know my secret to confidence, and maybe the answer to my earlier question of why confidence is so elusive. Because, for me, confidence surrounds me warmly, and has for as long as I can remember. But I know it doesn’t for others, and realized the only way to remedy that would be to share the trick to having confidence. From this point forward, promise to no one but yourself, to pay yourself a compliment, every time you see your reflection. And then maybe we’ll see how the world benefits from having a bunch of luminous, sexy, assertive geniuses walking around.